One of my favorite ingredients to add to fresh juices and smoothies is ginger. I love it for the fresh taste, how it calms my stomach when I’m stressed or anxious, and how it helps ease nausea and morning sickness (Hello, pregnancy). Now that I’m getting back into running after pregnancy, I’m starting to appreciate the benefits of ginger for running and recovery.
Ginger has a multitude of healing powers. These powers have been proclaimed for thousands of years in alternative medicine and many have been backed recently by modern studies. We runners should care particularly about its ability to:
Taking approximately 2 teaspoons of fresh ginger may help with DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness). In terms of digestion, it’s just a fact that all runners are concerned at some point with how their bowels are functioning, and ginger helps with constipation and diarrhea.
And while moderate daily exercise boosts your immune system, an intense long run or speedwork temporarily compromises it. Start ramping up your miles or pushing your speed and many of you likely will be sidelined for a week (or more) feeling under the weather. Now, in addition to carbohydrates, adding anti-inflammatory foods such as ginger can actually make your immune system stronger even during those hard workouts.
How to enjoy
Fresh ginger can be found in your produce department and looks like an ugly, knobby root. You’ll typically only use ¼- to ½-inch piece each time (more if you’re juicing), so even a small piece will last a good amount of time in the refrigerator. When using, peel the outer layer and grate into a saute pan if cooking a savory dish. Or place a hunk in your blender or juicer. Alternatively, you can add ginger spice to your dishes or enjoy candied ginger throughout the day.